Many of us have had to completely adjust our way of life due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including working remotely. Parents can no longer drop their children off at school and begin the commute to work. They are now forced to find a way to juggle parenting, monitoring remote learning, and remaining productive at work. The change is massive, but there are a few ways that you can make it work.
1. Dedicated Office Space
When you walk into your office, your brain clicks into work mode. This is not as easy when you are at home with all the distractions around you. It is crucial to create an office space in your home to help trigger your mind to begin thinking about work. Inform your family that this area is designated for your time. If you have young children, you can create fun signs to remind everyone in the house that when you are at “work,” you are not to be disturbed.
2. Create Routines
You once had a great routine. Children went to school, where they had set times for classes and meals. You went to work and had a set lunchtime. Those routines disappeared once everyone was in the house. Now there is food in the house, class schedules are more relaxed, and you must adjust. While you can work with your employer to create a more flexible work schedule that allows you to also assist with education requirements, there are some routines you can put into place. Have everyone still up at a set time for breakfast and get dressed for the day. Remember, our minds work on habits. Set a lunchtime and a snack time, so you do not find yourself snacking throughout the day. Finally, set a time when you will quit work and school for the day. Every day will not be perfect, but as your family adjusts, it will get better.
3. Set Expectations
Children do best with clear expectations of what is being requested of them. While you will want to set expectations for your children, you also want to converse with your employer about what working remotely will look like. With your children, they should know when they are to be in class or learning on their own. For your work situation, make sure meetings are scheduled in advance, so you do not run into the problem of having too many people on video calls at the same time. Have clear rules set for tracking hourly work, and ensure everyone is relaxed with children sometimes interrupting.
It is unknown when life will go back to the “normal” we knew before the pandemic. Therefore, it is up to us to adapt everyone to return to pre-March 2020. With these three tips, you reduce stress and create an atmosphere everyone benefits from. Working from home while parenting will come with good days and bad days, so take it one day at a time.